PhD student

Carina Becker

Thesis topic: The ecological understanding and restoration of degraded lands in the Kamiesberg, Namaqualand, South Africa

Supervisors: Prof Timm Hoffman and Dr Peter Carrick (NRI) 
Collaborating Institutions: Nurture, Restore, Innovate (NRI), Conservation South Africa (CSA) 
Office: Room 5.04, HW Pearson Building


Carina grew up in Namibia and become involved in various conservation organisations after school, inculding the Rare and Endangered Species Trust, Namibia Game Capture Unit and community based resource programmes. In 2009 she completed her National Diploma in Nature Conservation at the Polytechnic of Namibia, whereby she was awarded best third year Nature conservation student. She furthered her studies at the Nelson Mandela Metroplitan University in George and completed her B-Tech in Nature Conservation and was awarded the top B-tech student. She developed a keen interest for land management and restoration ecology and undertook a masters with the SubTropical Restoration Project, under the supervision of Prof Richard Cowling, to research the influence of soil properties on spekboom (Portulucaria afra) and the implications for restoration in the Thicket Biome. This research, together with work she had done in Namibia, grew her passion for restoration work in arid systems.

In 2013 She joined the Plant Conservation Unit under the supervison of Prof Hoffman and Dr Carrick from NRI (Nuture Restore Innovate) and she is currently busy with a PhD on the restoration of old farmlands in the Kamiesberg area of Namaqualand. Her research deals with understanding the ecology of Succulent Karoo and Kamiesberg Renosterveld systems in this area, how succession occurs on old fields and how to restore the biodoversity and ecological functioning of these fields.

Research interests

  • Soil-plant-animal interactions
  • Land management in arid systems, especially with regards to rangelands
  • Community based natural resource management
  • Understanding ecological dynamics to re-establish indigenous plant communities


Becker, C. H., Coetsee, C., Cowling, R. M., & Potts, A. J. (2015). The local landscape boundary between the Albany subtropical thicket and Nama-Karoo shrubland is not influenced by edaphic factors. South African Journal of Botany.doi:10.1016/j.sajb2014.12.003

Carrick, P.J., Erickson, T.E., Becker, C.H., Mayence, C.E. & Bourne, A.R. (2015) Comparing ecological restoration in South Africa and Western Australia: the benefits of a ‘travelling workshop’. Ecological Management & Restoration, 16, 86-94